“How badly did you wound the Trojan?” Luc asked.
“Blew a hole through its chest. Like I could see through the bastard,” Hunter answered. “That bad.”
“Wow,” I whispered.
“He didn’t go at us like you did with the other Trojan. He could’ve blown up any of the buildings around us.” Hunter’s fingers stilled. “I’m guessing that’s why a bullet took you down for the count. You expelled all your energy. Drained yourself dry, I imagine.”
Luc shifted forward, all lazy arrogance gone. “Refresh my memory, Hunter. What happens when you go empty on the Source? When you don’t feed?”
He arched a brow. “Like when we almost hit rock bottom? Not many choose to live that kind of life, but when they do, we grow weaker, become practically human. The first time is the worst. It’s like detoxing. We get hungry.”
I locked up. “What?”
“Hunger that no food can quench. Like the gnawing type of hunger that seizes up your stomach and chest,” he explained, and it felt like the couch moved underneath me. “Many end up sleeping the worst of it off.”
“Sleeping?” I squeaked. “Like for a couple of days?”
He eyed me. “Yes. Sometimes more.”
“Oh, crap,” I whispered.
“Jesus,” Luc muttered as he looked at me. “I should’ve thought of that. You’re part Arum. You started getting hungry after the woods, and then you slept for four days.”
“Well, that should’ve been a dead giveaway,” Hunter remarked.
Sitting there, I could only stare at the bear.
“Maybe to you, but she’s not completely an Arum. I’m sure you’ve been filled in on her background.”
“I have, but I didn’t know she slept for four days,” Hunter replied. “What happened when you woke up?”
Blinking, I eased my death grip on my knees. “I felt fine.”
“You’re part Luxen, so you probably took that time to replenish what you used. It was the first time you’d used the Source to such an extreme after activating, right? Doesn’t poke holes in the doc’s theory. Sort of proves it,” he said, then laughed.
“What’s so funny?” I demanded.
“Nothing,” Hunter said, lips curling into a smile as he focused on Luc. “So how do you feel about becoming her own personal energy drink?”29“What?” I jumped to my feet. “You’re saying I’m going to need to feed off Luc?”
Hunter arched a brow as he looked up at me. “Either him or a Luxen. Hybrids really won’t be worth it. You feed off one of them and you’re starving a few hours later. Humans, well, you’d feed off them for different reasons.”
I started to ask why, and then, luckily, I thought of Serena and realized I really didn’t need to ask that question.
My gaze bounced to Luc. His expression had gone thoughtful. My stomach dropped to my toes. “I’m not feeding off you.”
He cocked his head to the side but said nothing.
“Then I’m sure you can find a willing Luxen to step in.” Hunter dipped his chin. “You know, it doesn’t have to be painful—”
“It’s painful?” I whispered, clasping my hands against my chest.
“Only if you want it to be.” Dropping his foot the floor, he tipped forward. “But you can make it so that the willing donor thoroughly enjoys themselves.”
Warmth flared across my face. “I don’t even know how to feed.”
Hunter slid a knowing look in Luc’s direction. “I know an Arum or two who would be more than happy to walk you through it.”
Luc’s gaze snapped in his direction. “That won’t be necessary.”
“You sure? Sin should be here soon.” Hunter bit down on his lip. The Arum was clearly enjoying himself, the jerk. “And you know how helpful he is.”
Luc’s smile was all fire. “I also know how painful my fist in your face is about to be.”
“It’s just a suggestion.”
“Oh yeah, you’re being really helpful.”
Chuckling, Hunter leaned back in the chair. “That’s my middle name.”
“And if I don’t feed?” I sat back down. “I end up in a coma for days again?”
“Seems like that’s the case. You sleep until your body can replenish what you’ve lost.” Hunter put his foot back onto the coffee table. “In a way, you’re lucky. If you were Arum, your only option would be to feed unless you wanted to lose the ability to harness the Source completely.”
“Lucky?” I coughed out a dry laugh. “I guess.”
“There is something else,” Hunter said. “Opal.”
“Opal?” I looked between them. “Like the gemstone?”
Luc nodded. “Remember how I told you beta quartz can hide the Luxen, neutralizing their wavelengths? That’s not the only naturally occurring stone that has an impact. Some are good. Some are bad.”
“Like onyx? I know that can hurt Luxen.” It was everywhere outside these walls, installed like sprinkler systems in many of the public buildings, emitting a fine burst of onyx. The mixture had a bizarre effect on the alien DNA, causing Luxen to feel like their very cells were bouncing off one another. I’d forgotten about that. Would it affect me?